Air Assets for Africa

Included in Air Force’s list of unfunded requirements in Fiscal 2009 are requests for one C-37B and one C-40 VIP transport aircraft that would be assigned to US Africa Command. The two aircraft, at approximately $82 million and $151.2 million each, respectively, would be used to support the combatant command staff and shuttle distinguished visitors, USAF says. The Air Force is resurrecting 17th Air Force to serve as the air component of the fledgling command, which stood up last September. Planning is still underway to determine what the air component will comprise. Beyond the command, these airlift requests would help the Air Force reach its objective numbers for its C-37 and C-40 fleets. Overall, USAF says it would like to field a total of 16 C-37s. It has nine C-37As already and one C-37B is on order and expected for delivery this year. The C-37B request for AFRICOM is actually part of a larger call for a total of six C37Bs ($491.6 million) in the unfunded requirements list that would bring the fleet size to 16. There are currently 10 C-40s in service. “The objective is to increase the inventory to 11 and provide AFRICOM with dedicated [operational support airlift],” the service writes in the documents accompanying the unfunded requirements list.